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UK 4G Coverage Worse Than In Romania and Peru, Watchdog Finds (theguardian.com) 83

Britain's National Infrastructure Commission has said in a major new report that the country's mobile phone coverage is worse than that in Albania, Panama, Peru and Romania, as users are able to connect to the internet barely half the time. The report also found that the country's data volumes are four to five times less than the U.S. and Japan. The Guardian reports: The commission, chaired by Andrew Adonis, the crossbench peer and former Labour minister, said the government must now ensure that the next generation of 5G spectrum does not have the failures that dog 4G coverage. "Britain is 54th in the world for 4G coverage, and the typical user can only access 4G barely half the time," Adonis said. "Our 4G network is worse than Romania and Albania, Panama and Peru. Our roads and railways can feel like digital deserts and even our city centers are plagued by not spots where connectivity is impossible. That isn't just frustrating, it is increasingly holding British business back as more and more of our economy requires a connected workforce." In a list of recommendations, it argued there should be a new dedicated cabinet minister in charge of the UK's digital future, ensuring mobile connectivity is competitive with the rest of the world. On top of that, it called for ministers and Ofcom, the media regulator, to work together to ensure a set of standards known as a universal service obligation no later than 2025. The crucial priorities for coverage are key rail routes, major roads such as motorways and all towns and cities, Adonis said.
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UK 4G Coverage Worse Than In Romania and Peru, Watchdog Finds

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  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @08:03AM (#53482525)
    UK Worse than in Romania and Peru, Watchdog finds.
    Service =
    Healthcare
    Public Transport
    Education
    Basic Reading Skills
    Xenophobia
    Distrust in political system

    Shall we make this a game?
    • UK Worse than in Romania and Peru, Watchdog finds. Service = Healthcare Public Transport Education Basic Reading Skills Xenophobia Distrust in political system Shall we make this a game?

      Since the Brexit vote the UK is now one of Europes leading lights in Xenophobia :|

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tx ( 96709 )

        It's easy to take cheap shots at the UK over Brexit, however in reality the referendum result was about anti-EU sentiment and sovereignty rather than xenophobia. Sure, a small core of the Leave campaign and their supporters are pretty xenophobic, but that is not reflected amongst the population at large. That side of things was given far too much weight by the media and the Remain side, to the detriment of rational debate in the run up to the vote.

        The fact is that the UK is one of the least racist countries [quora.com]

        • It's easy to take cheap shots at the UK over Brexit,

          I'm British! Who's taking cheap shots? In the aftermath of the Brexit Vote there was a very large surge in racist and racially motivated attacks and abuse with the EDL having a field day. The problems that bad that for the first time since WWII the British Government has had to ban a white supremacist group. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-3... [bbc.co.uk]

          • Very large surge? You mean like a few isolated incidents? Give us all a break.
            • by pbhj ( 607776 )

              Well I barely have any non-white friends and one of the few I know was verbally assaulted in the street. Some people apparently thought that voting "out" meant we'd then immediately evict anyone who wasn't 7th generation British. Figures show something like a doubling of racially motivated attacks and that's the reported figures, like my friend I suspect most incidents went unreported.

              The Independent [1] reported a 3-fold increase between the days immediately after the referendum and the comparative dates i

          • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @09:25AM (#53482907) Journal
            I'm also British, and while a lot of racists have taken the leave vote to be a license to come out of the closet, a lot of people who voted to leave are simply fed up with the status quo. Look at the map of voters: in places with strong economies, the vote was for remain, in places with large amounts of poverty the vote was to leave. The core issue is that a significant percentage of the population is fed up with constantly being shafted by those in power. The only tragedy is that they decided to rebel by voting to give more power to the people responsible for those policies.
            • That's almost exactly what happened here in the US with Trump. The rural voters who feel disenfranchised because all their factory jobs and such have moved offshore voted for someone who promised to bring them back, but instead he's now installing people who are going to implement policies which will just hurt them even more, and further increase the divide between the rich and poor.

              • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @12:04PM (#53484001) Journal
                The freedom of movement within the EU also has some negative effects. Most people in the UK learn at least some either French or German at school, but often not to a standard required to work in either country, and even if they do then that's only one other country where they can work. Almost everyone in the EU learns enough English to work low-skill jobs in the UK. At the opposite end, most high-skill jobs in the EU only require English. This means that freedom of movement creates opportunities for the high-skill workers in the UK, but increases competition for the lower-skilled jobs. The better-off people have benefitted from the freedom of movement, but the worse-off have not (though the amount to which they've suffered from it has been exaggerated by certain parts of the media).
                • by Teun ( 17872 )
                  An interesting look at the option re. language skills and I can see some truth in it.
                  At the same time I see the weakness of the British system, problems like lack of skills or pressure on the lower wages due to foreign cheap labour are not addressed by the national politicians but instead they blame others like Brussels, the Poles etc.

                  In other words, British press and politics jointly continue on the same path of deception they have been on since even before the days of Maggie Thatcher.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              I think you are right, it doesn't make sense. People fed up with the status quo voted for the political elite, old Etonian millionaires and career politicians. People wanting to take back control put May into the top job without so much as an election, and threw away their democratic control over things like employment rights. They said that they wanted to decide for themselves, but now businesses are lining up with their list of rights they want stripped away and the people have no say over it.

              • It was the same with the electoral reform referendum: Do you want to keep our current crappy FPTP system, or do you want the worst of all of the proportional representation systems? A lot of people voted FPTP because they thought that it would be impossible to change the electoral system twice in a lifetime and they wanted something that was actually good. With the EU referendum, there were two bad choices: Do you want to keep the status quo, or do you want some unspecified other thing? The question boil

          • by Tx ( 96709 )

            Apologies for assuming you were not a fellow Brit then. Sure, some of the racist groups took the Brexit vote as a boost for them, and got temporarily riled up, but I maintain that that isn't reflective of the population at large. Look around Europe; in France, you have a very high likelihood of Le Pen getting into the second round of the Presidential election (and given recent electoral surprises, I wouldn't rule out a win), you have the AFD making huge gains in Germany, Geert Wilders party doing great in t

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              It's xenophobia and racism. Decades of certain parts of the media demonizing immigrants has conditioned people to respond negatively to them. It's not that they are full of real hate or anything, it's just that they are conditioned to think that way.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            In the aftermath of the Brexit Vote there was a very large surge in racist and racially motivated attacks

            Don't forget the number of groups you've had in the UK making false claims, and it was such a problem that at least one group was banned and refused funding as well. Just a FYI it was a muslim group making up crimes.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The result was mostly about immigration and a bit of anti-intellectualism.

          The problem is twofold. First, we don't manage immigration properly. There are some acute problems due to immigration, but we could deal with them if there was the political will. Secondly, for decades certain parts of the media have been blaming immigrants for everything and fear-mongering like crazy. UKIP turned that into a political philosophy, and along with euroskeptics in his own party forced Cameron to have the referendum.

          The a

        • was about anti-EU sentiment and sovereignty rather than xenophobia

          LOL. Where'd you get that from, the Nigle Farage book of funny Brexit facts(1)?

          (1) Not actually facts

    • One should point out, whereas there is certainly room for criticism, Britain is better off than the US in every single one of those issues. Not that that is a great target to beat.

    • Peruvians are food champions, to each its own. And, were they considering the Andes as part of their coverage report? Possibly not, it would be ridiculous to compare basically a flat land (UK) against the massive challenge the Andes are. Say, who is looking for 4G coverage when they are in the himalayas? Also, Peru has dense rainforests with no roads and inaccessible places everywhere. Cell phone population does not justify investments in cell towers in the Andes or the amazon area. Enjoy the (radio) Silenc
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe another Brexit will solve the issue?

  • Bad comparison (Score:5, Informative)

    by getuid() ( 1305889 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @08:45AM (#53482707) Homepage

    Romania is one of the most advanced countries with regard to internet infrastructure. I'm paying 30 euros for a guaranteed 90/90 Mbit optical cable business connection, including 8 IPv4.

    Residential net speeds are mostly Gbit, with actual Gbit p2p transfer rate within city limits, and 100 Mbit outside (nation wide, essentially only limited to the bandwidth of the server one is accessing).

    Also IPv6 adoption advanced furthest, several of the solutions are being discussed internationally for wider adoption (don't ask me details, don't know much about it - but I'm a Romanian living in Germany with friends in tech management of one of the two largest Romanian providers).

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      So how come Romania has such great infrastructure? In the UK the mobile companies are trying to invest as little as possible and resist things like mandatory roaming agreements, while the phone company is milking it's old copper shit for all its worth and avoiding installing fibre at all costs. We gave them vast sums of money to put fibre in and they pissed it away.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I'd wager it was because under the Ceausescu regime, telephones were probably both a luxury and considered an existential threat to his regime, so the phone network was essentially junk when he was overthrown and not really useful.

        If the UK had to basically rebuild the entire telecommunications network from scratch in the early 1990s, I'm sure a lot of basic infrastructure and engineering choices would have been far more data favorable.

        Countries which had a decent and usable telecommunications network seem

      • Deregulation - or lack of regulation at the right time. In the late '90s and early 2000's the cable TV and Internet market was a wild wild West with thousands of small companies fighting for users. No rules, cables stretched everywhere across streets and buildings. They consolidated now in a few big players and the cables got buried underground, but there is still competition - the apartment I lived in Bucharest had three cables from three different providers passing in front of the door.

        It also helps that

        • I live in Bucharest and have 2 different cable providers, they don't cost much, about $9 each. I pay for both in order to have a fallback option. When there's any problem, I never have to call tech service. It just recovers a little bit later, but in the meantime I use the other one. I never had both of them down, but even if I did, there's the mobile phone too with its own data plan.
  • Europe is so far behind the US in wireless technology it isn't even funny. They don't even produce any phones. So backward!
  • by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @09:27AM (#53482921)

    When your existing infrastructure;

    1. Is non-existent or uncommon.

    2. Is not an incremental step to what is commonly found everywhere in the country already.

    3. Does not involve entrenched billion dollar businesses milking the status-quo.

    4. Is not governed by decades of government regulation.

    So yeah...when countries with far worse infrastructure or practically none get more infrastructure they get the best available making established countries seem to lag. -just look at the UK's train system in comparison to any country that had the luxury adding train infrastructure in the last 30-40 years.

    The UK has loads of old infrastructure, established commercial bodies and eye watering regulation. -keeping that in mind (and ignoring the idiocy of brexit) the UK is doing very well.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Japan had lots of old infrastructure too. They just got on with it, put fibre everywhere and make it extremely cheap to ensure wide adoption with a view to long term profit. Even rural areas with low population density are served.

      In fact, we gave BT a load of money to do that... And they didn't. NEC offered to use the money to give everyone FTTP, but because BT were friends with the Tory leadership...

    • just look at the UK's train system in comparison to any country that had the luxury adding train infrastructure in the last 30-40 years.

      Which countries are those? I don't know of any country that fits that description. I do know of several with infrastructure older than that of the UK and no where near as shit.

  • They have no need for good coverage anyway - after all, it's just a little island.
  • Ok, UK is 54th in the world according to some league table that doesn't seem to get fully published in either of the sources linked in the summary. So who are the 53 higher ranked countries?

    For those who couldn't be bothered searching, the full table is here [opensignal.com].

  • Well, in Britain I used to have a mobile plan with 200min/unlimited text/500MB for 6.90GBP. Since I've moved to Canada, the cheapest decent plan I could find is 40CAD. Sure it has more of everything but my usage for the last month was 44min/19text/53MB. Nevermind, I am sure Canada is a world leader in 4G! Hurray!
  • Who are these lucky people for whom 4G works half the time!?

    The only places 4G - or mobile web access at all for that matter - works for me is pretty much inside an O2 shop.

    Anywhere else - central London, Greater London, in the country, in my house, in other city and town centres - no chance. On the train - ha, that's a good one.

    I'm still not entirely convinced there isn't a problem with the 4G hardware on my iPhone. Been in a O2 shop twice now to check it - as I say, works fine in their shops, but ha

  • It wasn't long ago that England was the most powerful nation in the world.

    What many people don't realize is that if England were a state, it would be 51st, below Mississippi, in terms of economic output. (England is 83.9% of the United Kingdom by population.) If you expanded your measurement to include Great Britain (the UK excluding Northern Ireland), Great Britain would be 50th, right above Mississippi.

    What I expect, as the UK completes its separation from the EU, is for the kingdom's role in the world to

    • If you want to troll you should at least try and say something remotely plausible to somebody who was ill-informed about the world, like saying it would be 9th. You get one mark for including a percentage to make it look like you had some actual data, and one mark just for showing up. 2/10. You need to work harder than that to make the Special Olympics, kid.

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